Hush Money Trial: Trump becomes first former US prez to be convicted of felony

Donald Trump

Donald Trump


The real verdict is going to be November 5th by the people. And they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here. You have a...

The real verdict is going to be November 5th by the people. And they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here. You have a Soros-backed DA, and the whole thing, we didn't do a thing wrong. I'm a very innocent man, and it's okay, I'm fighting for our country. I'm fighting for our Constitution. Our whole country is being rigged right now — Donald Trump

Washington: Donald Trump has been found guilty of all 34 charges of falsifying business records by a grand jury in New York, an unprecedented and historic verdict that makes him the first former president in American history to be convicted of a felony, as he makes a bid to return to the White House in November.

In a landmark verdict, a panel of 12 Manhattan jurors on Thursday said they unanimously agreed that Trump, 77, falsified business records to conceal a USD 130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 presidential election. It will ultimately be up to voters on November 5 to decide the significance of the guilty verdict delivered by 12 ordinary New Yorkers, which, on a legal basis, does not prevent him from being elected president again.

Over a six-week trial, the court heard from 22 witnesses, including Daniels, whose alleged sexual encounter with the former president was at the centre of the case. As the verdicts were read, Trump remained silent and still. But the former president spoke to reporters outside the courtroom, calling the trial a "rigged, disgraceful trial" and saying that the "real verdict" will be rendered on Election Day.

Prosecutors had argued that, by approving a scheme to disguise the money as legal expenses, Trump broke election law. Trump’s sentencing is scheduled for July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he will be formally nominated as the party’s presidential candidate against incumbent Joe Biden, an 81-year-old Democrat, in the elections.

For now, Trump has been released without having to pay bail. “This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt. It’s a rigged trial, a disgrace. They wouldn’t give us a venue change. We were at 5 per cent or 6 per cent in this district, in this area. This was a rigged, disgraceful trial,” said Trump shortly after the verdict was read. Trump alleged that this was done by the Biden administration to wound or hurt a political opponent. No former president or presumptive party nominee in the US has ever faced a felony conviction.

During the trial, the prosecution set out to prove that Trump had falsified records when he repaid his former lawyer Michael Cohen for a hush-money payment to Daniels. They said he had recorded the reimbursements as legal expenses to circumvent campaign finance laws.

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